“We’re the Machine’s last hope.”
What an ending. What a finale. What a show. Somehow, Person of Interest has the ability to keep turning it up a notch, to keep delivering some of the most thrilling, compelling, and relevant television on right now. With “YHWH”, it concludes yet another great season in grand fashion, and what we’re witnessing right now is TV at its best. Who would’ve thought four years ago that this would eventually become such a layered and brilliant series?
This is all on display in the finale, which seems to focus on the idea of humanity, on the concept of “people” in relation to The Machine/Samaritan. Early on in the episode, Root tells Finch that “The Machine is the priority”, but Finch responds by asserting that “the people are the priority”, that the people are “the reason for The Machine’s existence”. Here, we see two major ideas at the forefront, ideas that have carefully been developed over the course of the series: 1) loss brings people together, and 2) The Machine certainly does have some semblance of humanity. This is a quick exchange, but it does a great job of intertwining Team Machine and The Machine, uniting the two in anticipation of their (already occurring) showdown with Samaritan. “No more standing on the sidelines,” Root says. “You want us to save your skin? Get in the game.”
Later on in the episode, we see the idea pop up again when Control tells Grice that because he let Shaw go, he “valued people over protocol”. Control has a different perception toward things than Team Machine does, but what’s great about the handling of her character in this episode is that you expect her to be the team’s knight in shining armor. You expect her to take down Greer and stop a potential Supreme Court bombing, but in the end, her control is once again stripped from her. “WE handed the feeds to Greer,” she realizes, “and after this, we’ll be under their thumb.” What makes this situation different from Finch creating The Machine is that Finch didn’t merely act as an intermediary; here, Control realizes that she and Senator Garrison are pawns, that they helped facilitate the takeover by a powerful force. She does not have the emotional connection to anything that Finch does.
And so, when The Machine communicates with Finch at the end, it’s an extremely affecting moment. “I thought you would want me to stay alive. Now, you are not sure.” are two of the most devastating lines ever written for the show, and the look on Harold’s face upon reading it speaks volumes. Here, the importance of humanity is emphasized yet again, as Harold is God to the Machine. It’s really damn heartbreaking because now, you realize that the creation has been listening to her creator express doubts, that the creation has seen the disappointment on the creator’s face first-hand. Of course, at the end of the day, Finch and Root won’t let anyone stop them from saving The Machine, and there’s an interesting parallel set-up going on here: The Machine goes from being everywhere to being compressed into a suitcase, and Samaritan is going from large-scale control to small-scale “Corrections”.
Speaking of, there’s an extremely intriguing discussion going on between Control and Greer at the end. “The world has only ever been made a better place by violence,” Greer argues. He goes further to say that “most of humanity is docile. Only a few hundred people ever create problems: the disrupters, the outliers. Then, there are the disloyal.” Here, we find out that “The Correction” is not a large attack on D.C., but rather an attempt to “kill the right people”. So, there’s an acknowledgment by Samaritan of the fact that people can make things difficult, but I think Samaritan’s still underestimating when it comes to humanity. This greedy little AI wants to be God, a “deity directing [peoples’] fates”, but the truth of the matter is that humans are not the docile creatures it anticipates controlling. Want a “test of loyalty”, Samaritan? Just watch how members of Team Machine support each other. No room for outliers? Well, one so-called “outlier”, Elias, built up respect and power because he understood the importance of maintaining relationships. Right now, Samaritan believes it can roll over the rest of the world, but based on what we’ve seen, we know that’s not true. Team Machine is coming to get you, Samaritan, and they’ll even do it in slow-mo.
SEASON GRADE: B+/A-
-I love how Samaritan taking out certain people ties into the show’s first theme of irrelevance versus relevance. Also, this may be analogous to, say, drone warfare.
-Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine”. Wonder how long they’ve wanted to use that one. It’s a perfect song for this show.
-REESE IN GOD MODE.
-I wonder why Control isn’t killed immediately. They must have another use for her.
-Thank you to the show for not bringing back Gabriel. A lot more power when it’s just words on a screen, rather than a boy speaking in a menacing tone.
– “YHWH”–> “Yahweh”–> “God”, in case you were wondering.
-I love how incompetent the bad guys always are at shooting the main characters. Such a cool ending, though, so it’s totally fine.
-Bear would like to have a word with the POI producers.
-A big round of applause to Enrico Colantoni and Winston Duke for their work throughout the series. Colantoni in particular was phenomenal. Who knows, though? Maybe Elias isn’t dead.
-There will most likely be a season five, but now, the question is whether it will be the last season or not. Personally, I don’t think drama shows should exceed six seasons, and it’s looking like POI is heading toward a natural conclusion. I don’t want it to end, but I want it to go out on top. Anyway, thanks for reading. I had so much fun covering every episode this year, and I hope I’ll be able to do it again next season.
Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest